Fast Track Your Tech Startup

Rapport and relationships are the crux of everything

maryann

You don’t have to do it alone.  

There are myriad ways to build a community, get funding, and even technical help to launch your online product. Accelerators, tech hubs, and co- working spaces are popping up everywhere and actively connecting and inspiring founders.

These venues often act as recruiting grounds for venture capitalists and angel investors looking for compelling new startups. However, many founders get overwhelmed with doubt wondering if they are ready for these types of hubs. At this week’s Entrepreneurs Summit, Jesica Averhart of American Underground, Brian Brackeen of Kairos.com, and Rodney Williams, of LISNR shared insider tips on how to put your startup on the fast track now.

Here are some facts to help dispel any trepidation:

Pitching to a VC 

Rodney Williams

He read all the right books and watched other people pitch to get ready. He noted that the book Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change helped him talk to venture capitalists and other decision makers—the right way. Rapport and relationships are the crux of everything.

Brian Brackeen

Brackeen emphasized that learning how to speak the language of different cultures and constituencies helps to speed up connection. For example, some cultures don’t like to start business right away and enjoy breaking the ice with small talk about the weather or family, and other groups are more straightforward. Learn to adapt.


Launching A Tech Startup With No Tech Background

Brian Brackeen

Brackeen also emphasized that empathy is the most important quality a startup founder can have. A nontech person may understand the problem in a different way and have a solution that’s not technical. Understanding the user matters most. Get to the “why.” It makes it all easier.

Rodney Williams

Williams urges founders to talk about their product in a nontechnical way. This helps connect you to others. He says, even as a builder, you still need someone to build the product so you can lead the team and be the visionary.


What Technology is Getting Funded

Jesica Averhart

Averhart revealed that life sciences and fintech startups are the sweet spot for investors, as well as, B2B enterprise software. She strongly believes in creating opportunities for black women in tech to merge and become a tribe.

The gist? Get off the computer. Put down the phone. Join programs to build your community through as many cups of coffee, tea, or even tequila dates, as possible. And just in case you’re weary about using existing technology, such as Squarespace or other cloud-based platforms to build yours, focus on user design and interface to make the difference.